Looking Past the Donut

As you ramble on through Life, then,
Whatever be your goal,
Keep your eye upon the doughnut
And not upon the hole.

That may be good advice in life.  As to the performance of Richmond’s public schools, there’s a question whether the very large dropout hole has the perverse effect of enlarging the SOL donut.

We already know about the appalling condition of that donut, Richmond’s SOL performance.  Let’s further examine the hole, the kids who have dropped out and can’t further damage the pass rates.

The VDOE Web site has dropout statistics by division and by school.  I pulled down those by school for 2018 (the latest available) along with the Fall enrollment (“membership”) data for that year.

First the high schools.  The scales on the ordinates here are the same so we can compare the schools.

image image image image


And the average of averages for the five schools:


It looks like Wythe, with some modest help from everybody but Armstrong, is driving Richmond’s anomalously high 9th grade dropout rate.

The selective high schools paint a much prettier picture.

image image

No need for a graph for Franklin Military; their high school numbers all are zero.

The middle school numbers are much smaller, albeit several show troublesome trends.  Notice the expanded ordinate.

image image image image image image image image

The middle school average of averages:


Richmond Alternative, the dumping ground for troublesome kids (esp. in middle school), requires expanded ordinates.

image image

If Richmond were serious about dealing with dropouts (the numbers say they are not), these data suggest the places to start.